Santa’s ‘Viking Christmas Village’ Is Barnegat Light Tradition

Nov 10, 2017

Santa’s Viking Christmas Village on Saturday, Nov. 25, is the North Pole of LBI celebrations. To families who come from miles around for this unique backdrop, the historic fishermen’s village can seem as close to a North Pole setting as LBI gets.

The free event, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., finds Santa Claus dropping in to the commercial dock and shop area amid a holiday art and craft show, the sound of music, and the scents of coffee and baked goods.

Plus, Viking Fresh Off the Hook restaurant will re-open for the day with a special menu.

Santa, who looks a lot like commercial fisherman Pete Dolan, arrives by fire truck at 1 p.m. He loves hearing the kids’ wish lists, and he has even held a few puppies on his lap. Bring your camera to take your own pictures with him.

Live music by Ty Mares will be merry and bright; and when he’s on break, Viking Village will fill the air with piped-in music – never an un-festive moment.

The Christmas Craft Show is back for the second year, thanks to the fact that it was a hit last year when the date had been rescheduled from a foul-weather September day. The 35 local artists and crafters have been busy as elves creating imaginative gifts and decor.

Additionally, the Viking Village shops are decorated and scheduled to re-open for this occasion, just in time for holiday shopping or for treating yourself.

That beckoning coffee aroma in the air will come from the onsite How You Brewin? coffee shop. Be ready to dive into a s’mores bar this year.

The coffee shop will also host a pop-up bakery with accomplished artisan Rafael Morillo. His passion for  bread-making and for learning the Old World techniques has him at the forefront of the neo-traditional bread revolution sweeping the industry.

“Depending on the weather, we might have lawn games out on the grass,” added Pam Larson, operator of Viking Shows and owner of The Seawife shop at Viking Village. The size of the crowd is weather-driven, she said, “and last year we got really lucky.”

Santa Reaches Town

The Night Before

Santa already knows his way around Barnegat Light – every year, on Friday evening the day after Thanksgiving, he arrives at the boat ramp by Coast Guard boat and then proceeds to light the tree in front of the post office on West 10th Street and leads the carol singing. The first aid squad, across the street, hosts refreshments and Santa right afterward.

Then Santa rests up for the next day, when the line of kids to greet him at Viking Village stretches nearly back to the commercial fishing boats. —M.S.

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